The Changeling

The Changeling

THOMAS MIDDLETON
WILLIAM ROWLEY
Edited by Matthew W. Black
Copyright Date: 1966
Pages: 144
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt3fhnfw
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  • Book Info
    The Changeling
    Book Description:

    The Changeling is a powerful psychological tragedy of the moral degeneration of a highborn Spanish girl through a crime prompted by obsessive love. Thomas Middleton was probably responsible for the tragic plot, and William Rowley for the comic subplot concerning the antics of a young rake who contrives to have himself committed to an insane asylum for love of the proprietor's handsome wife.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0669-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 5-12)

    The Changeling is a powerful psychological tragedy which has for theme the moral degeneration of a highborn Spanish girl, Beatrice-Joanna, through a crime prompted by obsessive love. A comic subplot concerns the antics of a young rake, Antonio, who contrives to have himself committed to an insane asylum for love of the physician-proprietor’s handsome wife. This subplot has been criticized as “nauseous” and “better excised,” but is in fact a burlesque contrasting treatment of the farcical effects of mad infatuation, i.e. of passionate love working upon a temperament less self-centered, humorless, and ruthless than that of Beatrice-Joanna. The presence in...

  3. Dramatis Personae
    (pp. 14-14)
  4. ACTUS PRIMUS
    (pp. 15-39)

    Als.

    ’Twas in the temple where I first beheld her,

    And now again the same. What omen yet

    Follows of that? None but imaginary?

    Why should my hopes of fate be timorous?

    The place is holy, so is my intent:

    I love her beauties to the holy purpose,

    And that, methinks, admits comparison

    With man’s first creation, the place blest,

    And is his right home back, if he achieve it.

    The church hath first begun our interview

    And that’s the place must join us into one;

    So there’s beginning and perfection too.

    Jas.

    O, sir, are you here? Come, the...

  5. ACTUS SECUNDUS
    (pp. 40-57)

    Bea.

    O, sir, I’m ready now for that fair service

    Which makes the name of friend sit glorious on you.

    Good angels and this conduct be your guide!

    [Gives a paper.]

    Fitness of time and place is there set down, sir.

    Jas.

    The joy I shall return rewards my service. Exit.

    Bea.

    How wise is Alsemero in his friend!

    It is a sign he makes his choice with judgment.

    Then I appear in nothing more approv’d

    Than making choice of him;

    For ’tis a principle: he that can choose

    That bosom well who of his thoughts partakes

    Proves most discreet...

  6. ACTUS TERTIUS
    (pp. 58-85)

    De F.

    Yes, here are all the keys; I was afraid, my lord,

    I’d wanted for the postern. This is it.

    I’ve all, I’ve all, my lord; this for the sconce.

    Alon.

    ’Tis a most spacious and impregnable fort.

    De F.

    You’ll tell me more, my lord.—This descent

    Is somewhat narrow; we shall never pass

    Well with our weapons, they’ll but trouble us.

    Alon.

    Thou say’st true.

    De F. Pray, let me help your lordship.

    Alon.

    ’Tis done. Thanks, kind De Flores.

    De F. Here are hooks, my lord,

    To hang such things on purpose.

    [He hangs up the...

  7. ACTUS QUARTUS
    (pp. 86-114)

    Bea.

    This fellow has undone me endlessly;

    Never was bride so fearfully distress’d.

    The more I think upon th’ensuing night,

    And whom I am to cope with in embraces,

    One that’s ennobled both in blood and mind,

    So clear in understanding—that’s my plague now—

    Before whose judgment will my fault appear

    Like malefactors’ crimes before tribunals—

    There is no hiding on’t—the more I dive

    Into my own distress. How a wise man

    Stands for a great calamity! There’s no venturing

    Into his bed, what course soe’er I light upon,

    Without my shame, which may grow up to danger;...

  8. ACTUS QUINTUS
    (pp. 115-140)

    Bea.

    One struck, and yet she lies by’t! O, my fears!

    This strumpet serves her own ends, ’tis apparent now;

    Devours the pleasure with a greedy appetite

    And never minds my honor or my peace;

    Makes havoc of my right. But she pays dearly for’t:

    No trusting of her life with such a secret

    That cannot rule her blood to keep her promise.

    Beside, I have some suspicion of her faith to me,

    Because I was suspected of my lord

    And it must come from her. Strike two.

    Hark, by my horrors,

    Another clock strikes two.

    De F. Pist! Where...

  9. APPENDIX
    (pp. 141-143)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 144-144)